ASHEVILLE – U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced Stephen Russell Dean McCoy, 27, an EBCI tribal member of Cherokee, on Thursday, Jan. 25 to 108 months in prison on federal charges stemming from a string of robberies of hotels and businesses across three counties, announced R. Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
McCoy was also ordered to serve three years under court supervision after he is released from prison and to pay $4,189 as restitution.
McCoy previously pleaded guilty to one count of robbery within Indian Country, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of Hobbs Act robbery. Co-defendant David James Littlejohn, an EBCI tribal member, was also sentenced on Thursday, Jan. 25 to 70 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $1,090 as restitution. Littlejohn pleaded guilty to one count of Hobbs Act robbery.
Both defendants are currently in federal custody and will be transferred into custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
According to filed court documents and court proceedings, between Nov. 20, 2015, and Feb. 10, 2016, McCoy robbed six hotels and businesses in Cherokee, Swain, and Jackson counties. According to court records, on Nov. 20, 2015, at approximately 3:40am, McCoy brandished a knife to an employee of the Quality Inn located in Swain County, in Indian Country. McCoy demanded money, and obtained approximately $150 from the desk drawer and $30 from the employee’s wallet. Court records show that McCoy also told the employee, “I’ve hit all these hotels.” Twenty minutes later, at approximately 4am, McCoy entered the Baymont Inn, also in Swain County, in Indian Country. He again brandished a knife and demanded money from a hotel employee, who gave McCoy approximately $140 in cash.
On Jan. 26, 2016, at approximately 10:40pm, McCoy brandished a knife and demanded money from a clerk at the Fairfield Inn and Suites located in Jackson County, in Indian Country. When the hotel employee attempted to call 911, McCoy grabbed her, threw her in a corner, and cut her hand with the knife causing the employee to sustain injuries. McCoy fled with $225 in cash.
Then, on Jan. 30, 2016, at approximately 9:45pm, McCoy brandished a knife and demanded money from an employee at Ric’s Smoke Shop in Jackson County, in Indian country. McCoy told the victim to open the cash drawer, and ordered the victim to lay down on the floor. He left the store with $1,724 in cash and a Gatorade drink.
According to court records, on Feb. 9, 2016, at approximately 11:10am, McCoy entered a Dollar General Store in Whitter, in Jackson County. Court records show that McCoy approached the register with three food items and asked the store clerk about telephone cards. Then, McCoy pulled out a knife and demanded money from the clerk. McCoy fled the store with $442.38 in cash.
A day later, on Feb. 10, 2016, at approximately 3:26am, McCoy and his co-defendant, David James Littlejohn, entered a Microtel Inn located in Bryson City. A guest of the hotel, identified as “R.E.” was in the lobby. McCoy jumped behind the counter and ordered R.E. to come behind the counter as well. R.E refused. McCoy jumped on the counter, pulled a large fixed knife and went towards R.E., with Littlejohn following behind him. McCoy, holding the knife, asked R.E. multiple times where the woman was that worked the hotel desk. McCoy pointed the knife at R.E. and told R.E. to get on the ground. R.E. laid down on the floor, and McCoy told Littlejohn to get everything from R.E.’s pockets and said if R.E. moved then cut him. Littlejohn took R.E.’s wallet, $45 in cash and other items while McCoy went behind the front desk. A store employee heard the commotion, walked into the lobby and saw R.E. on the floor. Littlejohn grabbed the employee and forced her to the floor, then took from her the key for the cash drawer and gave it to McCoy. McCoy opened the drawer and took $200. After ripping all the phones out of the wall, both McCoy and Littlejohn ran out of the front door.
In making Thursday’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the Cherokee Indian Police Department, the Bryson City Police Department, and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation of the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Hess, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Eason of the Office of the Tribal Prosecutor for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians prosecuted the case.
– Department of Justice